En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identity of plant that smells like oranges in Alpine, TX

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - August 16, 2012

From: Abilene, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Identity of plant that smells like oranges in Alpine, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

There are patches of flat bushy like plants in lawn, smells like orange. Areas may be 10" and spreading, but when pulled has small root. How can I get rid of this plant and what is it?

ANSWER:

This sounds like one of the Crotons.  There are several species that occur in Brewster County and all have a characteristic odor, much like oranges, when the leaves are crushed.  The most likely one is Croton monanthogynus (Prairie tea).  Here are more photos and information from University of Texas School of Biological Sciences, Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension and from Missouri State University.

There are also:

Croton lindheimerianus (Threeseed croton).  Here are photos from the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

Croton pottsii var. pottsii (Leatherweed)

Croton suaveolens (Scented croton)

Croton texensis (Texas croton)

Croton incanus (Torrey's croton).  Here are photos and more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

Croton fruticulosus (Bush croton)

The best way to get rid of the plant is just what you have been doing—pull it up.  On the other hand, you might consider waiting until after it's dropped its seeds.  Crotons are often called doveweeds for their important role in providing essential forage for doves, quail and other ground-feeding birds.

If this isn't the plant you have in your lawn, take photos of it and then visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie tea
Croton monanthogynus

Prairie tea
Croton monanthogynus

Leatherweed
Croton pottsii var. pottsii

Scented croton
Croton suaveolens

Texas croton
Croton texensis

Bush croton
Croton fruticulosus

More Problem Plants Questions

Need help fighting grass burs in La Grange, TX.
January 22, 2013 - I have 4 acres of wildflowers planted in my front yard. Unfortunately, grassburs have crept in & I need to control them with a pre-emergent. Will this keep the wildflowers from blooming? Also, would l...
view the full question and answer

Poison Ivy in Semi-wetland Massachusetts
June 27, 2013 - You answered this question for Tennessee, but I would like an answer for a Massachusetts semi-wetlands area: What can I plant to discourage poison ivy, or at least make it very clear that it is poison...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

Eliminating non-native invasive bermuda grass in Morgan's Point TX
April 25, 2010 - We are trying to establish a wildflower meadow, but are having trouble with the neighbor's invasive bermudagrass taking over..what can be done to eliminate the bermuda?
view the full question and answer

Need something to compete with Virginia wild rye in Bristol, TN.
July 29, 2011 - I have been working for 4 years to convert a large area of sunny lawn (150' x 40') to a native woodland planting, using native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. Although I used seeds of a variety ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center